Let’s Talk Turkey!

coffee cup thankful Thanksgiving Fall decor

This week we have learned a valuable lesson at Chez Peady.

If you chop it up and put it on the table, they will eat it.

It doesn’t matter the time of day or meal in question.

If it is cut up into bite sized pieces and there’s maybe a little veggie dip, salsa, guacamole, or hummus for dipping the veggies will vanish.

I forgot! The Things are such great eaters they will try anything I make and usually without complaint because, as I have talked about before, I do make sure there is at least one thing that everyone likes for sure, but I am not a short order cook and I do not make extra meals, special meals or meals made to order.

Though, not too long ago I was dreaming of having a fully functional buffet brunch bar with waffles made to order, an omelette chef, a mountain of fresh fruit, and a great bottomless cup of coffee, for myself. This is a fantasy. This is not a hotel. It is a nice dream though.

So, knowing brunch was not going to appear magically* and really not feeling like a bacon-and-eggs brunch, I decided the cure for this breakfast break was to roast a turkey for dinner and roast a turkey I did!

I pretty much let the Things and Daddy-O fend for themselves** all day with no regularly scheduled meals – at all – until dinner.

Yup.

Super Mom!

I couldn’t help it. I had a one turkey-track mind.

Ever since Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about next Thanksgiving. Luckily for me, I don’t have to wait until next year. I only have to wait until American Thanksgiving***.

I am so excited that we celebrate both Thanksgivings for all kinds of reasons, but I’d be misleading you if I didn’t divulge right now that one of the main reasons is for the turkey – and all the fun fixings.

For Canadian Thanksgiving we are usually not at home, so we don’t get to have any of the fun leftovers the following week. The hot turkey sandwiches drenched in gravy with yummy leftover mashed potatoes, carrots, and turnip**** on the side. The double decker club sandwiches with crinkle cut fries and gravy. The amazing turkey soup made lovingly by using every single scrap of leftover turkey. All delightful in their own rights and treats one really misses when one isn’t in charge of roasting the main course!

For American Thanksgiving we are almost always at home. When the Things were smaller I used to call in “festive” so they would have the day off school. Yes. Really. I would quite literally call the school and leave a message on the answering machine or speak to our lovely Administrative Assistant (in Ottawa) and happily explain, “It’s American Thanksgiving and we are calling in festive!”. It was very freeing actually and I think it gave the person listening to the message a laugh, on what was otherwise a random Thursday in November – which if you have never been to Ottawa – can be quite grey and cold. I hope it brought joy. It certainly brought me a lot of joy. We would stay home and I would roast a turkey and we’d watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and have a grand time! A scrumptious turkey dinner on a weeknight is very happy making, indeed. I love the fact that some American television stations televise Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life right after the parade on American Thanksgiving Day. Pretty much, it’s the perfect end to a very happy day.

I mean, who could deny the beauty of a day designed to celebrate the joy of a bountiful harvest with family? Throw in the fact that it is a super excuse for an extra thankful Thursday and another roasted turkey and well.. SOLD!

So, with all of this in mind – and the fact that fresh turkeys were on sale – I went out and bought one to roast today.

I regret nothing!

It was scrumptious.

We had turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, turnip, corn, stuffing, fresh rolls and gravy.

And the best part is that, if we want we can have it all over again tomorrow because LEFTOVERS! (Yay!)

Now, I really must finish this post, so I can get the CrockPot fired up because while we are sleeping magical slow cooker elves will be making the base for an amazing batch of turkey soup. (Also, yay!)

Tell me, are you a fan of roasted turkey?

Do you gravy all the things?

Are you gluten free like me and left with a little sad space on your plate?

I am working on a stuffing solution. I will be back with one by the 26th! Mark my words.

Which one of you is working on my replicator, again? We need to have a talk about the progress you are making.   harumphs *

**Don’t worry. There was plenty of food to forage. Protein, cereal, toast and Nutella,  Halloween treats – whoopsiedoodle!

***Hah! We are even Hobbits when it comes to Thanksgiving! Second Thanksgiving FTW!

****It’s rutabaga, I know, but it’s still turnip, you know?

MYO Pizza: Low Carb & Gluten Free Edition (aka The Pizza-Alike)

Gluten Free Goldilocks

Make Your Own Pizza Night is a long standing tradition at Chez Peady and I will not be the reason it stops.

Not being able to eat delicious, chewy, crispy, fluffy, flavourful pizza crust (without feeling horrible) has put a serious dent in MYO Pizza night for the last little while and, quite frankly, we’ve had a lot fewer MYO Pizza Nights as a result.

I have had rather hit or miss experiences with making gluten free crusts. I’ve made this cauliflower crust and had it turn out great, but I have also made this exact recipe and had it turn out terrible. There are myriads of cauliflower crust recipes now – most are still just a variation on the same theme – and I have yet to find a sure thing.

So this week when I knew we were going to reinstate MYO Pizza Night, I knew I needed to approach it from a more creative place.

First, I prepped the pizzas for my family using pre-baked pizza stone crusts and the toppings they enjoy most which we, pretty much, always have on hand. Everyone has favourites and MYO Pizza Night is a great time to get what you want!

Daddy-O likes lots of veggies, cheese, pepperoni, and fresh jalapeño slices. Muy caliente!

Thing 1 is a carnivore and if the entire pizza could be fashioned out of meats and cheeses he would be praising cheeses!

Thing 2 likes a variety of flavours just as long as it isn’t too spicy.

The easiest way for me to deal with this, usually, is to have everyone make their own, but in the interest of saving time (there was a movie in our FFFN* plans) I just used the pre-made crusts and whipped up two pies! One for Daddy-O (leftovers were today’s lunch!) and one for Thing 1 and Thing 2 to share (again, leftovers for lunch today!).

They turned out great** and everyone was happy with a very simple MYO Pizza Night to ease back in.

So, yay!

BUT!

Now what the heck was I going to do?

The trouble with needing a gluten free option is that it does take a bit of planning and extra preparation. Oh look! Two things I almost never do for myself! Shocker, eh?

You know what I almost always do for myself though? Think. So, I thought about what I needed and wanted and came up with a simple idea.

I would make a Pizza-Alike. It would have a tonne of veggies and jalapeños and it would not have a crust at all. Weird? Yup. Delicious? You bet your sweet bell peppers, it was!

Here is what it looked like.

This is what I did.

I used a glass pie plate and lined it with pepperoni slices (you could use another meat as a base).

I added my cheese (mozzarella & cheddar).

I added sliced red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, some sliced jalapeño and a teensy sprinkle of parmesan.

I popped it into a 400 degree oven until it looked all melty, golden, yummy, and the pepperoni was crisp.

When it was ready, I removed it from the oven to let it cool a bit.

I sliced it into six wedges and placed them onto some paper towel and let them sit for a minute so some of the fat would be absorbed. (If you had a fat free or low fat pepperoni, based on this experiment, I’d say use that!)

Then I served up a few slices on a little plate with about a tablespoon of pizza sauce for dipping.

MYO Pizza Night Victory!

 

So tell me, are you gluten free? Do you eat low carb? Are there dietary restrictions *you* need to adhere to so you can be at your healthiest and happiest?

What alterations have you come up with so you can still enjoy your favourite foods?

Leave a comment and share with the whole class!

 

 

*Friday Family Fun Night. It’s a thing!

**The pizza crusts came from Costco and were an experiment. I was so happy they liked them. KISS! Simplicity rules!

Source: http://www.thenakednaturopath.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/gluten-free-cartoon1.jpg

Always Wear Sunscreen

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Oh sure! It looks all friendly and happy with its toasty rays and snazzy shades, but trust me there’s a burning desire to fry your skin lurking just under those fiery smiling lips.

I just committed a drive-by sunscreening at Thing 2’s school. I’m guilty as charged, but I’m not sorry.

The UV Report is “High” today and in the confusion of the morning rush to make it to the bus on time, Thing 2 – who will spend an hour outside during high noon – did not get her sunscreen. Aack!

What’s an easily scorched, SPF MUD wearing, mother of Celtic heritage to do?

Well, first I consulted social media, because TWEEPS!

Then, I called school to make sure it was okay to pop by, then I brushed my teeth and grabbed my Kinesys and fled.

Because skin is our largest organ and we don’t have a spare.

Summer is coming’ in, but fast.*

Don’t be fooled by our hazy Maritime mornings, either. Those hazy** days can be the worst offenders for sun damage.

My best advice?

Always wear sunscreen.

Och!

 

So, do you have a favourite brand of sunscreen? Do you have a way to remember to apply it – even during the crazy-busy morning rush? What’s your secret to keeping your skin safe?

*Bonus: Natalie Cole because I love her and I used her Daddy’s lyric – and often do!

**BONUS Bonus of Nat King Cole because I said “hazy” and well… just listen.

Let’s get our “buts” in check, so we can get our “butts” in gear!

woman powerful fit fitness run walk running walking healthy

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky!

Or eat some Ruffles.

Or don’t go for a walk.

Or maybe skip breakfast.

Or just sit here all day.

Winter has gone on far too long this year, but guess what! In a few weeks it will be warmer and sunnier and I will want to feel better than I do right now and ALL the aforementioned things that may or may not have happened (Who’s to say, really?) over the winter will come running back to me and haunt me with all the woulda, coulda, shoulda uselessness of hindsight. Oh, hindsight! Why must you be 20/20? You are such a jerk!

But! (No no…  it’s okay… this time. Really. I’m going somewhere here.)

It’s not too late! We have time to make a positive change*. You. Me. All of us! We have to start today, though. Right this minute, even.

I will use the body I have to get the body I want. I don’t need a gym. No one needs a gym. Right? I do have Peady Powers after all.

I know what to eat to fuel me. I know that being happy is a choice. I know that going outside as often as possible is good for my brain. I know that the ONE thing I can do today and everyday that I have been avoiding is moving. Oh sure, I can run and play with my kids and I can walk really, really far, but I want to be able to just move more and better as I get older. I don’t want to feel hindered by my age or attitude. I know age is inevitable. I know my attitude is a positive one. The trouble is, I lack confidence in my body and its ability to grow old gracefully.

For instance, right now I know I have committed to do something and I know it will be good for me and won’t take much time, but I am sore. Good sore, mind you, but sore nonetheless. So I have to talk myself into doing it**. Telling you is helping. (Thanks!) I am going to do it though. Right now. I’ll be back. (pfft As if you’d know! You just have to trust me… )

My friend Sheila is a licenced Zumba instructor and has a sincere interest in all things fitness. She is a great influence and a staunch supporter in my quest for better health. She wasn’t always the fitness enthusiast she is today. She has her own journey and reasons for taking charge of her health. We have been friends for a decade or so and we have been witness to lots of life’s ups and downs – including those of the scale variety. I asked her if I could use a quote of hers for this post and being the awesome person she is, of course, she said yes.

“My wake up moment was when I decided I was too young to feel that way. I was not willing to give in to all the little things. I wanted more out of life and I refused to accept all those little discomforts as just part of aging. Yes it’s part of aging if you don’t take care of your body.

I am hitting reboot on my eating habits and exercising. Don’t worry. I haven’t gone too bonkers. I just need to be healthier and there’s no time like the present, right? I am at a place in my life where I need to feel empowered and strong. I have some pretty amazing support. A best friend who will help me to get out and walk as often as possible, a group or two of like-minded people sharing ideas, successes and advice, and a faraway friend who is on her own mission to keep healthy, even as time keeps reminding us of its constant passing.

I am a firm believer of everything in moderation – including moderation!

Honestly, I am. Sort of. Wait. Do the Ruffles count? Oh, never mind. The point is there’s change in the air and I am ready to not only embrace it, but I am also willing and able to cheer you on, too!

So, maybe, just maybe we can get our buts in gear, get our butts in gear AND get our butts in gear! I say we give it a go! Who’s with me?

Have you been taking care of yourself this winter?

*There’s always time for positive change, by the way. Always.

**I did it. I promise.

[edited to add this encouraging Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash]